Tripping At The Brain With TKO Of Mindrought
Hardcore progressive metal outift, Mindrought, currently one of Detroit, Michigan's best kept heavy music secret's has weathered many storms to remain a dominant force in the underground metal scene. Whether I'm listening to Mindrought's unrelenting Drama Machine or the mosh-inducing I See The End, I've found it quite easy to get quickly caught up in this band's crushing sonic approach. I went head up with this talented act's lead guitar player, TKO, and discovered so much more.
Rocket: What year did this band start? And give us a rundown on the current lineup?
TKO: The band started in 2002 and has been through many ups and downs concerning different band members. I started and manage the band and have been through so much they could make a VH1 on me! Right now the band is the most solid it has ever been. Finding the right players is one of the hardest things you could ever imagine, if it's your job to keep it together. Dozer, my drummer has been in Mindrought well over two years, and is bar none , the best band member/friend you could ever hope to find. As well as being a brutal, cymbal breaking maniac. Boom has been in the band the longest, three years of getting chased by young girls. He started from scratch and has evolved into a total stage-wrecking force!. He is multi-talented and can play every instrument in the band. Gary fuckin rules! Brian Jr. had some big shoes to fill and has grown right before our eyes into a bass God! Its taken some time, but with the professionalism we have now, the ball is rolling.
Rocket: I can hear so many different influences in Mindrought's music, from Pantera, Dry Kill Logic, (Hed)pe to Fear Factory. Which I absolutely love about you guys, man. These are some of the most important and unique metal bands of the last ten to fifteen years. But the baddest thing about Mindrought is that you still manage to have your own sound, which isn't easy to achieve. How does the band go about writing its music?
TKO: Well, first of all thank you for the great compliment!. The number one thing I strive for is to be original. Mindrought will gladly accept the 2006 award for having your own sound! We did not win the one long song and oversaturation awards. Everything has been done already, so where do you start? When I first envisioned Mindrought, I had just come out of a band with a horrible bass player and all I did was play leads, leads, leads. I wanted 180% and that became the secret code for Mindrought. I wanted the bass to play all over the place and lead the songs, and the guitar to go in and out. The guitar must be full of inversions must maintain a groove. Solos must be movements. We must write songs that can stand the test of time instead of just useless walls of noise. We must not repeat ourselves. I am very picky when it comes to Mindrought. But the music has weathered through some changes and now our lead bass style is being recognized. When it comes to songwriting we go to some extreme measures. The bass plays ascending lines while the guitar plays descending lines creating harmonies and dissonants in the same run. I use theory to play counter-parts to the bass lines and we sometimes hook together for the chorus. On purpose, let's do 180% of what we think we should. I took alot of math in school. I really like to think our stuff out. Ive written songs also just by writing numbers and equations down on paper and translating it to guitar. Am I wrong? No just demented...lol Bottom line: I use Inspiration mixed with experience to attempt to create new thinking. But of course I need my band mates also. A song isn't done until it's magic when we all play together. I love you guys.
Rocket: Who are some of the current underground metal bands that you follow and enjoy?
TKO: Well, I don't listen to the radio too much and I haven't bought and new CD's in a while so I will go with what I've seen in Detroit. 1000 Yard Stare, Fallhard, As They Sleep and Dirt Road Original Pimps. In my CD player in the car is Blackout, Far Beyond, Trendkill, Dead By Wednesday, and Mushroomhead at this moment am I out of touch?
Rocket: It's all good, bro. As long as it's the true steel. Now what's the meaning behind the song Drama Machine?
TKO: That's a hell of a question! Do you really want to know? That song is about how much our ex-singer hated me...lol. He was a great singer but had never been in a band or performed onstage. I tried to whip him into shape and into a professional but all he wanted was to drink. A lot. (He has quit drinking and we wish him well) It's one thing to play a song when your drunk, buts its another to be creative and write. It just turned into a giant battle and in his rage against me it turned into these lyrics. I'm not offended at all. It takes extreme shit to create things that manifest lyrics. Of course crazy women are the number one cause of that we all know. lol. In this case it was me, but all I wanted was for him to work at a pro level. The line "You can suck my dick!" makes this song a instant classic! Yeah!
Rocket: Covering one of the top rock music scenes in the world here on Hollywood's Sunset Strip as I do, I tend to forget how important some of the other scenes around are, like say where you cats are from or Austin, Texas. Tell me more about the Detroit metal scene and is there competition that goes on versus other bands?
TKO: Detroit has more metal bands than any other kind of bands so of course there is the few, the proud, the dumb, who believe music/bands is a competition. I feel sorry for them, its not a statewide battle of the bands. Its about doing your own thing, creating your own destiny. Your talent and presentation should be what you worry about. The Detroit scene is going thru changes. Due to the hard drunk driving laws in MI, a lot of the bar scene has faded. The internet music scene is a lot more accessible, and you can get drunk and fall down in your own house while staring at your monitor! This does not mean there are not a lot of great detroit bands, just attendance is down. It also seems a lot of bands are fighting with promoters these days. I'm freaking glad we have Karen Elliott of Elliott Booking. No Bull Promotion! On a different note I personally take on promoter every year and put on the MICHIGAN METAL SHOWCASE. I bring together and showcase new and established bands on Thursday night shows and open it to all press in Detroit for free. It should be about working together, not apart. All in all there is a lot of great talent in Detroit for the world to see.
Rocket: Tell me about your guitar playing influences? The ones that you still turn to this very day for guidance and playing influence.
TKO: I have old school and new school in me. I cut my chops in the 90's so there was a lot of soloing going on back then. Let me break down the 90's for me. Number one is Dime... no more said RIP. Number two is Dave Mustaine. My God.... Megadeth was more full-on uitar than Metallica. I got into Daves solos and all Megadeth music. I learned all the songs note for note. Slayer....then came Satriani and Lynch. Please don't laugh...lol.
Rocket: Dude, George Lynch is a bad ass. I have always loved the first Lynch Mob album. Perfect metal music for a road trip or going camping, man. So it's all good.
TKO: Now please don't laugh again. Billy Corgan taught me octave chording, which I still use today. Then came the millenium. In 2000, I stopped playing solos. "Wisconson Death Trip" showed that the guitar could be used as a percussive instrument. Hmm... less is more. Interesting concept. Here I had been taught to cram as much as I could into as little as possible. Then I heard One Minute Silence... wow! Click on Guitar enabled. I went from solo 101 to songwriting 101 and never looked back. Sure, I hear a lot of stuff that blows my mind. But I just keep true to my convictions that what Im trying to present is accepted by the people and I keep on keepin on. I believe in my Mindrought's music. Good songwriting will take you farther than a good solo.
Rocket: I talk to many un-signed metal bands about the MySpace phenomena on the web and how crucial it's become to bands for getting the word out and being able to really set-up shop, sell records and merchandise on their own. What's your take on it?
TKO: I love MySpace. We have gained tons of new fans and it is an unconditional site. It provides easy access for labels to scout and its a great tool to reach about 20 billion freakin people. We sell a lot of CD's and merch thru the links and we get heard so many people who would never hear us. Come visit www.myspace/mindrought and check out our merchandise join us as freinds, or visit me personally at www.myspace.com/tkodetroit.
Rocket: You guys I'm sure at this point have opened up for some of the more known, signed national touring metal acts. Who are some of these bands and what has the experience been like?
TKO: We've had some awesome Jager shows with Bleed The Sky, No Ruin and Scum Of The Earth and have opened for various nationals over the years. We really enjoy headlining our own show and give the fans a full on show. We recently played St. Andrews Hall on a Saturday for the Freedom Of Action tour. It was a Ritual show and we sold tickets thru Ticketmaster. Awesome show! We brought out the dancers! We've headlined a giant outdoor show for a few years running. The bigger the better, contact us. Now that were working with Elliott Booking, we expect alot more bigger shows.
Rocket: Is Mindrought prepared to record a full album's worth of material? It really sound like you have something really potential here based off the demos you feature on MySpace.
TKO: Mindrought has been writing songs for over 5 years. We have a backlog of songs that have never been released that you can only hear live. We have enough for 2 complete CD's right now and are in the process of kicking out a slew of new songs by years end. We most likely will release 2 full lengths in the next two years and a collectors CD of extra songs was discussed too. Just wait till you hear songs like Blanket Party, My Way, Blindspot and Dick In A Mousetrap!
Rocket: What is the ideal record deal for Mindrought? I've studied the busines end of the music business very intensely in the last year, and I find it thoroughly fascintating how some top level un-signed bands I talk to have absolutely no damn clue as to what really goes on there, like royalty rates and just knowing what deal is ripping them off and which one is good.
TKO: Can you say Intellectual Property? Can you say Royalties? What about mechanical or performance royalties? Judged by units moved? Current statutory rate .08 cents per song paid to publisher? No, I know nothing about it... hahahaha. In reality ,the music business is a thick skin business. I have learned so much and use this knowledge accordingly. Our best package would be a great agent, a nice VIDEO budget, A TOUR budget, A CD budget, and three years of constant touring while we produce two killer CD's. And the house payment made for me.The ryder must have Cool Ranch Doritos.
Rocket: Right on. Changing gears, I like to keep things light and get some laughs. What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you personally while performing on stage?
TKO: My singer constantly unplugs me... but I would have to say when were headlining the Music Jams 2004. My bassist at the time had a girlfriend that has to have attention or she can't survive. She jumps on the stage during our set , grabs the mike, and babbles a bunch or incoherent nonsense. As I was playing I yelled at her that was the most unprofessional thing and she needed to get off the stage. Upon leaving the stage, I was cracked in the head by a beer bottle from her. Needles to say, they had to go.
Rocket: Dragged by the hair I hope. Haha. Just kidding, ladies. Don't start sending me hate mail. Now, I notice that Mindrought, like most professional acts, has a street team. Tell me more about some of the people fighting the war for this band on the front lines. I imagine you have a ton of support in your corner?
TKO: Our street team rules! They get to come to rehearsal and interact with us and for sure drink some freakin alcohol! They help so much promote shows I get blown away! Without our fans we are nothing. Join at www.mindrought.com
Rocket: You guys are trying to get voted onto Ozzfest 2006, right? I talk tons of shit about Sharon Osbourne and this event. For the true metalers around, she's become quite hated due to some of the Faux Metal bands she allows to play and then of course the totally disrespectful egging incident of the great Iron Maiden last year. I'm not going to deny the incredible exposure a band gets from playing this enormous tour, but I believe that it can also backfire on a band in the long run. What is your belief?
TKO: I believe if you see us you will never forget us no matter what show we are playing. We just want to be heard so we can come play your town and show you what we are all about. If Sharon is a stepping stone I'll try it if we can get some new fans. If she throws eggs at me can I be on MTV news too? How does that go??? Bad press is good press? Controversy breeds interest?
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